Thursday, December 01, 2005

Method in Harper's Madness?

Obnoxious, abrasive, exclusionary...and canny? Well in Ottawa, CNEWS writer Michelle MacAfee suggests Tory Leader Stephen Harper did his party a big favor in blustering about overturning same-sex marriage within minutes of the confidence vote.

As the article puts it, he took the right choice between "lance the boil quickly or let the tension drain slowly and painfully." It quotes University of Manitoba political scientist Paul Thomas:
My first thought was this is not a ground you want to fight the election on — that's really stupid. But then, as I thought about it more, I realized it was a calculated judgment. I don't think there's a huge downside, and it may provide protection against it surfacing later.
Other observers think the marriage issue, which he cannot deliver on, is a loser. It will distract from ethics, where he has the temporary advantage.

Meanwhile the NDP won't support opening the marriage issue. Polls show that voters have already moved beyond it. Harper has also alienated the Parti Québécois, which has an openly gay leader. The latter is particularly bad for the Tories, as that province has a lot of votes and is a key to January's election.

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